Disabled people will have more choice in how they apply for benefits when the SNP Government takes responsibility for Disability Assistance next year.
Under the UK Tory Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) system, people can only apply for Disability Assistance by post or telephone. Under the new Scottish system people will be able to choose to apply for the payment in the way that suits their needs - online or face-to-face, as well as by phone or by post.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“We are continuing to build a social security system that is inclusive and puts people at its heart. By giving people more choice and flexibility about how to apply for assistance we hope to encourage more people who are eligible for benefits to apply for the money they are entitled to.
“The online application option together with our commitment to an improved assessment service puts people’s wellbeing first and will greatly improve the experience of people in Scotland who need Disability Assistance.
“Our new social security system is the largest public sector delivery since devolution and we are making real progress. By the end of this year Social Security Scotland will be delivering seven benefits. These plans demonstrate the progress being made as we get ready to take responsibly for disability payments next year.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Too many applicants are having difficulty applying for benefits with the UK Government’s DWP and are familiar with the consequences.
“The SNP Government wants to make life as easy as possible for disabled people and facilitating online applications for disability benefits will be most helpful for people across North Ayrshire and Scotland.”
Alongside the new online application system, additional work is being carried out on the internal systems that Social Security Scotland uses to manage and deliver benefits. This will further develop existing technology for the five benefits already in place and the new benefits that will be introduced later this year. The work will also ensure existing technology can support the complex job of managing the new disability benefits.
Existing systems will support Carer’s Allowance Supplement, Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Early Learning Payment, School Age Payment, Best Start Foods, Funeral Support Payment, Young Carer Grant and Job Grant.
The introduction of more complex benefits, including the Scottish Government’s Disability benefits, Carer’s Allowance, and Cold Weather Payments, will be fully supported.